evan… on the hunt.

Evan and I shot a wedding this summer.

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Wading through the over 7,000 photos to select and edit, I was way more joy-filled than I ever thought I would be. And partly it was because I came across this sequence of Evan so in the zone. So excited about working like this together. So excited to capture love.

ev_1ev_2ev_3ev_4

I can’t explain exactly why… but I love it.

[so so much.]

I accept.

During a welcome beat of my new-found stride, I went on a hike with some badass ladies tonight. We hike fast up the “M” in Bozeman. It’s like the “M” in Missoula… same same, but different. Montanans love putting letters on mountains.

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Afterwards, we hung out on a bench and talked and watched in horror as Cree [Rebekah’s dog] hunted a grouse and drank my new favorite beer and toasted a new [awesome] job [for Chelsi] and basked in this Bozeman life.

When we got back to the trailhead, we said our goodbyes and I got into my car. When I turned the key, I immediately recognized the voice on the radio and was excited that I was tuning in right in time for Hillary Clinton’s speech.

I decided I wanted to drive and listen to it. So I drove to a popular lookout for sunset. A few other cars were there, awaiting the fiery sunset. I cranked the speech, cracked another beer, and watched the sunset.

I couldn’t help but think of the journey that led us to here. Me to here. I sat contemplating the person I was with—myself. I drank a beer with a coozie from Luckenbach, Texas on it. Texas. Where I was born and raised. But now I’m in Bozeman, watching the sunset over this beautiful mountain town. How I got here is quite the journey. I moved here to work in advertising. That sentence alone makes me shake my head and smile.

I’m listening to a woman I’ve grown to admire. I’ve listened to so many speeches, debates, addresses. I’ve read so much about this election in the New Yorker—who am I?? But I have a subscription now, thanks to my mother-in-law. Yes! I am married. I have a husband—how did that happen? When did I let this grown-up world become me?

I thought back to my early jobs, my early hobbies, my early boyfriends, my early voting habits [sorry about that, America], my early goals, my early dreams—all while watching this sunset and listening to this incredible speech.

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Clinton’s words, “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit” rang over and over in my ears as I watched this beautiful sky. I half-smiled, because “The Sky’s the Limit” is the name of the latest tourism campaign my company executed. From dabbling in Photoshop at an office job when I was 18 to Art Director now. From women not being able to even vote to Hillary Clinton. We’re here now. I’m here now. A woman is running for president. This place, this life, this country accepts and encourages and applauds powerful women. My heart swelled, my eyes teared up, I took stock in this life and timeline and felt proud.

The sun made its final bow and the cars cleared the overlook, but Hillary was still speaking, still making history. I thought about how far we’ve come, how much I’ve grown up, as Hillary’s voice faded quieter and quieter… until silence. I was extremely confused. Was NPR fading out to start a new program??

And then there was the click of everything dying.

My car battery died. Of course. Oh, how quickly I felt not very adult at all. My husband was working and was not picking up his phone. Of course. Of course I am a child who doesn’t understand how cars or radios work. I called a friend. She was on her way.

I found the jumper cables in the back and waited. In the dark. With the opposite of Hillary’s encouraging words to listen to. All I had was the laughter of my own thoughts as they mocked how “far” I’ve made it in life. Dammit.

About five minutes later, in the absolute dark, a car pulled up. Not my friend’s car. It parked noticeably far away from my car. This car was either here to murder someone or round the bases with their high school crush. Considering my options—hero, victim, or buzzkill—I made my way towards the car.

I got too close to the car before anyone saw me for it not to be the most awkward thing in the world. I got close enough to obviously see this was the latter of my choices and I was about to be the biggest buzzkill. I startled the couple and motioned to roll down the window. I did this in the way that children born in 1999 or 2000 have no idea what I’m pantomiming—the big wooshing roll of the manual windows.

– My car battery is dead. Can I get a jump?

– Uh, sure. Do you have jumper cables?

– Yeah.

I called my friend and told her I found a jump. The car pulled up to mine, but not close enough. I had to tell the boy [the driver] to get closer. He quickly told me

– I’ve never done this before. I don’t know how to do this.

– We’re gonna be okay. Thanks so much.

I felt old again. I felt the familiarity of where he was, where the girl in the passenger seat who never left the car nor would hardly look at me… I knew where she was. I knew the uncertainty of jumping a car. I knew the freedom of being out in the middle of nowhere in a shitty car. I felt old in this way. Old in the knowing way.

I popped the hood and connected the cables. As I was connecting them to my car, I paused and stood up

– I’m Rachel, by the way.

– I’m Max.

I told Max to start his car. We waited. I started my car. It started.

I high-fived Max and thanked him over and over. Then, in par-for-the-course fashion, I said

– Sorry if I interrupted anything fun or important.

He awkwardly laughed at this stranded lady who must’ve seemed 100-years-old. We parted ways and I turned on the radio to hear just the recaps of Hillary’s speech.

It was perspective at it’s best. Humbling. Comical. Triumphant. Reflective.

I interrupted some frisky teenagers so that I could help them help me out. All so I could listen to our first woman presidential nominee speak and drink beer.

[god bless america.]

merry + bright.

I’m up to my ears in final projects and films for the semester and I’ve lost my manfriend to his new mistress — the library/studying for finals.

but somehow we found time to find a tree and find each other.

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I love this time of year… maybe more than ever before.
being in the mountains and making art and being in love and laughing with friends is all I’ve ever wanted.
it’s home.
and that home has a semi-decorated christmas tree in it.
yay!
xxo!

[merry + bright.]

I want you to be here.

As I said before, there are moments [strong, strong moments] that I want to remember from the time surrounding my accident. The night we came home from the hospital, I don’t know if either of us thought we would ever sleep. Evan and I were both so exhausted, but as my face began to swell and blacken more and more and the adrenaline wore off and reality set in, there were questions and what-ifs and words-you-need-to-say that could have kept us up all night.

Instead we said almost nothing to each other and both tried to get as much sleep as we could, with almost no avail. I fall asleep on Evan’s chest every night, but since my face was insanely broken and tender, my body was at a loss as to how to fall asleep. So, I took another pain pill and slept for a few hours. Evan spent most of the night awake wanting to comfort me, hold me, without hurting me.

We both tossed and turned the morning after, trying to get more rest, and not knowing what to say to each other. Evan left the bed for some time and then came back when he saw that I was sitting up a little. He had been watching me with everything he had since right before the accident; catering to my care. Evan got into the bed and I saw him pause as he tried to figure out how to hold me, how to be delicate. I told him, “come here” and I brought his head to my chest, so that I was holding him and my face was clear from contact.

And maybe it was the lovely oddness of our reversed embrace that spurred it, or the inevitability of holding it together for too long, but Evan broke. And for the second time ever, I saw him cry. I didn’t actually see it; I felt it. He sobbed into my chest and said only, “I was so scared. I thought you could be gone.” We held each other. We comforted each other. We affirmed each other that we are here. Not gone. We are here.

[side note: evan finally got some well-deserved sleep right after this and I think he slept for five hours straight. a friend texted his phone asking if he could come drop something off; I replied for the sleeping boy saying, “sure!”… when our friend knocked, I opened the door with my busted manatee face and told our confused friend, “shhhh… evan’s sleeping… he’s beat.”]

ev sleeping during said five hours.

ev sleeping during said five hours.

The next few days were physically miserable for me. My arms were too sore to lift above my head, one of my eyes was swollen shut, and my top lip had tripled in size from biting through it. Beyond that were the expected pains of having a broken face and recovering from a serious head injury. I couldn’t even bathe myself.

Evan didn’t flinch when I expressed wanting to clean the blood out of my hair and wash my body. He prepared a bath and helped me out of my clothes and into the tub. It was hard not to feel demoralized. If you pride yourself on any ounce of independence, getting a sponge-bath is a hard blow. But Evan rejected all awkwardness and instead exuded an attitude of, “why would this be weird? you’re doing great; you’re beautiful; I’ll give you sponge-baths forever if you need.”

We got through those days, those weeks, these months, and clung to each other a little bit closer each night.

I never want to forget that love. This love.

–––

A week ago Evan was in a pretty bad avalanche while skiing in the backcountry.

I know.

He’s fine. He is incredibly lucky to have walked away.

I started writing a play-by-play of what happened… and then me finding out… and then my unfolding of feelings… but it was too soon. Too much.

Evan wrote a summary of the 500ft tumble for the avalanche center.

It was insane to have this person, this love, who I needed to help feed and bathe me so recently, barely survive this day.

There have been many numb moments since. When he told me the news over the phone [crying for the third time], I hung up and turned off the music and shut the computer and poured myself a tall bourbon. But then I just sat there in silence for about an hour, not touching the drink. Numb.

And then there are times when we let ourselves get caught up in the what-if game again. Tears. Apologies. Words. Embraces. Love. Whiskey.

–––

Today, a week later, Evan turns 29. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EV!

His birthday is such a perfect time for me to reinforce my happiness that he is here… alive… part of this world. Life, once again, became a question we hadn’t asked and Evan answered with a vehement, “YES. I want to be in this world.”

And then I feverishly agreed, “YES. Be here. Stay here. I want you in this world.”

Life and love is still something I’m trying to figure out, but I know I want a lot of both.

A lot of both with this guy…

Evan

Evan, Anna Davis said it best when she said you are “just the best.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY BOY!

WE’RE ALIVE!

I SOLD ALL OF OUR SKIS!

I LOVE YOU!

And here are some songs for a kitchen dance party later:

Maybe we should include a dance-off competition in this year’s Eye Patch Olympics:

Okay, and also this video is for you because it’s the best thing in the world and I bet you haven’t seen it yet.

[happy birthday! so much love. let’s be alive.]

VAN ROADTRIP // november twenty-twelve.

After getting back from a [wonderful, wonderful] trip to Texas, I came home to Evan’s lovely family visiting us.

They left the next day and Evan and I both would’ve guessed that we would just end up sleeping for the following 24 hours.

Instead, we went on a little road trip. It was ah-mazing. Just perfect. What I’ve been needing. Oh, so right. So much fun.

I made a little video about it…

[i’m falling in love with montana more and more by the minute.]

[i didn’t mean to fuel the fire.]